Derek finishes this study by bringing out that these works God has done in us are in the past tense. They have been done; we just need to grasp that and live in them through faith. This is heavenly reality. God made us alive together with Christ and seated us with Him in heavenly places. Through His ascension we are glorified—we are in the glory of heaven with Him.
It’s good to be with you again, as we draw near to the close of another week. Today I’m going to continue and complete the theme we’ve been studying this week, “Secure in God’s Choice.” I trust you have found it helpful and inspiring. If so, please take time to write to me even if it’s only a brief note. Before I finish this talk, we’ll be giving you a mailing address to which you may write. It means a great deal to me to hear how this radio ministry of mine has been helping you and blessing you, so please take time to write even if it’s only a brief personal note. Write today!
Now, back to our theme, “Secure in God’s Choice.”
Over these past two weeks, we’ve followed through God’s plan for our lives from eternity, through time, into eternity and we’ve seen that it’s unfolded in seven successive stages. We’ve looked already at the first six stages, but I’ll just recapitulate them briefly. The first three stages in eternity, before time began:
First, God foreknew us.
Second, He chose us.
Third, He predestined us.
The fourth stage emerges out of eternity into time: God called us.
And when we respond aright to God’s call, then the fifth stage: God saved us.
And then the sixth stage: after being saved, we are justified. And I explained that stage yesterday.
Today we are going to look at the seventh and last stage: glorified, for Paul says: “...whom [God] justified, these He also glorified.” He doesn’t stop at when God saved us, he doesn’t stop at when God justified us, but he goes on to the fact that God glorified us.
It’s very important to see that all these are in the past tense. You believe that God saved you, that’s fine. You can also believe, on the basis of the same Scriptures, that God justified you. And if you can believe that God justified you, then on the basis of the same Scriptures, you can believe that God glorified you. Don’t put it off to the future. There is something wonderful ahead in the future, but being glorified is for us now, here, in time, in this life. You see, salvation leads to justification; and justification leads to glorification.
Now I defined justification yesterday. I summed it up in my favorite phrase. To be justified means I’m “just-as-if-I’d never sinned,” God’s own righteousness has been reckoned to me as a gift on the basis of my faith in Christ.
How would we define glorified or glorification? I would say to be glorified or to enter glorification means we share Christ’s glory with Him. And before Jesus went to the cross, prophetically praying to the Father, He said of His disciples, “The glory which thou gavest me I have given them.” Notice, it’s not going to happen, it has happened. That was made available through His sacrificial death and triumphant resurrection.
Let me say this again: If you enter into the fullness of God’s plan, you can say three things: God saved me, God justified me, God glorified me and use the same tense for all, not the future but the past. It has already happened. It is yours now.
We are justified through the resurrection of Jesus. Paul explains this in Romans 4:22-25. He speaks about Abraham believing God and the Scripture says, “It was reckoned to him as righteousness.” Then he goes on:
“Now not for his sake only was it written, that ‘IT WAS RECKONED TO HIM [that’s Abraham],’ but for our sake also, to whom it will be reckoned, as those who believe in Him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead, He who was delivered up because of our transgressions, and was raised [or resurrected] because of our justification.” (NAS)
Jesus died to pay the penalty for our sins, but when He rose again from the dead it was to bring us justification. You see, when God resurrected Jesus from the dead He reversed the verdicts of two human courts, a secular Roman court, a religious Jewish court. Both of them had declared Jesus worthy of death and seen that He was executed. But on the third day, when the stone was rolled away, when God brought Jesus back from the dead and out of the tomb, God reversed those two human verdicts. And He said, in effect, “This is indeed My Son. This is indeed the promised Messiah. There has been no sin in Him. He is totally righteous. He cannot be held by the chains of death.” And so the resurrection vindicated the righteousness of Jesus. But it also vindicates our righteousness, you see, because our guilt was imputed to Jesus and He died because of our guilt. But when we believe in Him, then His righteousness in return is imputed to us. And because He was vindicated by resurrection, we are likewise vindicated, justified, acquitted because of His resurrection.
But God does not stop with us at resurrection. He takes us beyond resurrection to ascension and through ascension we are not just justified, we are glorified. Let me say that again: We are justified through the resurrection of Jesus, we are glorified through the ascension of Jesus. Paul makes this very clear in Ephesians 2:4-6. He says this:
“But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up [or resurrected us] with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places, in Christ Jesus.” (NAS)
Notice, there are three things which God did all stated in the past tense: He made us alive together with Christ, He resurrected us with Christ, but don’t stop there, He seated us with Him in the heavenly places. On what kind of a seat is Jesus sitting? He’s sitting on the throne of God. If we’re seated with Him, what are we sitting on? The throne of God. The New English Bible actually translates that: “He enthroned us with Him.” That really brings out the truth. You see, it’s all the result of our identification with Jesus in His death, burial, resurrection, and ascension. Through His resurrection, we’re justified. But through His ascension, we’re glorified. We are in the glory with Him. All this is in the past tense.
We looked earlier in the Book of Job at Job’s question: “How can a mortal be righteous before God?” In the Book of Job there’s also this prophetic Scripture, which I’m sure the person who uttered it didn’t fully understand but it is so beautiful. In Job 36:7:
“[God] does not withdraw His eyes from the righteous; [and remember that means YOU because you’ve been made righteous by faith in Jesus.] [God] does not withdraw His eyes from the righteous; but with kings on the throne He has seated them forever, and they are exalted.” (NAS)
Isn’t that beautiful? That’s not just resurrection, that’s glorification, that’s enthronement. You see, this is the secret hidden wisdom of God. Paul speaks about it in 1 Corinthians 2:1-2. He says:
“When I came to you brethren, I did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God in lofty words or wisdom. For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.” (RSV)
First of all, Paul laid aside all natural, human, intellectual academic knowledge. Then he went on to say, “But there is another kind of wisdom which we do deal in,” in verses 6-8:
“Yet among the mature we do impart wisdom, although it is not a wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are doomed to pass away. But we impart a secret and hidden wisdom of God [Isn’t that a beautiful phrase? ‘A secret and hidden wisdom of God.’ Wouldn’t you like to know that?] which God decreed before the ages for our glorification.” (RSV)
Notice that. Before time began God had this wonderful plan of seven phases and the final phase was glorification, but it comes through a secret hidden wisdom of God. It’s not granted to the natural understanding, it doesn’t come by book learning. It comes through what? Through the cross. Through knowing Jesus Christ and Him crucified. The cross is the only doorway to this secret hidden wisdom of God. The key is identification. Jesus identified Himself with us in our guilt and paid our penalty. Then when believe that we are identified with Him in His death, His burial, His resurrection, and His ascension. And when we come to ascension, we enter into the glory with Him. The end of this wisdom is our glorification and it’s applied to our lives here and now. It determines our attitudes and our lifestyle. When you see this, you are going to live a different kind of life.
Paul points this out to the Colossians in Colossians 3:1-4:
“Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.”
You remember I promised you a place of total security in God? That’s it. You died. When Jesus died on the cross that ended that whole old sinful life. Now you are raised with Him, you are enthroned with Him. Your life is hidden with Christ in God. Could you think of a more safe place to be than to have a life that’s hidden with Christ in God. What harm can touch you? What evil can reach you? What can Satan do against you? When you realize that your life is hidden with Christ in God, and then Paul goes on:
“When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory.” (NIV)
Just grasp that fact. Christ is your life. Those four simple words can change the whole way you face life. This is the climax of God’s wonderful plan. Don’t stop short of it. It’s a place of total security.
Well, our time is up for today but I’ll be back with you again next week at this same time, Monday through Friday. Next week I’ll be sharing with you on another rich and exciting theme from the Word of God.
My special offer this week is a book of recipes. Does that surprise you? Well, it’s a book of recipes for success, proven recipes that have worked out in my own life and in countless other lives. The title of the book is If You Want God’s Best. All the recipes in it are practical and down-to-earth and they work. The title again: If You Want God’s Best. Also my complete series of talks this week on “Secure in God’s Choice, Part 2” is available in a single, carefully-edited cassette. Stay tuned for details.